Mental health is incredibly multi-faceted, and trust me, I’m not an expert. Therapy has been an absolute must in my life over the past few years. I have, however, learned a few things about leading my team intentionally and emphasizing emotional, psychological, and social well-being within our company culture—things I think might be valuable to share with you.
It is important to me that my team members know that first and foremost, we’re all human—I care about them first as people and second as employees. We’re a part of a team to support one another and while I care about their growth professionally, I also genuinely care about how they are doing, too. We just recently implemented a monthly health and wellness stipend to encourage each team member to use as they see fit, whether a gym membership, therapy, massages, healthy food, or whatever it might be that benefits them most.
In addition, I’ve set a strong precedent for work-life balance (is that still a buzzword? Do people say that anymore?) I’ve worked in companies and agencies previously where it isn’t uncommon to work a late night or weekend as needed to meet a client deadline. We’ve just chosen to do things a bit differently and value our team’s family time and off hours strongly both internally AND externally. We share this value with our clients and have been met with mutual respect, giving them confidence that our team supports one another and ensures deadlines still get met. We also offer our team 2 week long breaks—summer and holiday—to prioritize time off throughout the year, along with ample PTO that we encourage them to take, no questions asked.
A virtual work environment can make it even more difficult to stay connected with my staff. I do bi-weekly 1:1 meetings with each of my team members where we discuss difficulties they are facing, their strengths, opportunities for growth, and the goals they’ve set for themselves. I also hope this provides them an open door to share anything and everything that might be happening in their lives. I do my best to share the good AND the bad of my life with my team as openness and honesty from a leader hopefully promotes the same from my team. We try to get together face to face either monthly or bi-monthly for additional interaction, as well as a summer and holiday company-wide get together with our families.
All in all, I hope my team would say that I lead by example. I try really hard to make sure that they aren’t just growing in their professional careers, but enjoying each day they come to work knowing they are cared for. I’m always looking to learn and grow as a leader, so I’d love to know what things you provide your staff that you’ve seen make a huge difference in their mental health? Shoot me an email and let me know!